In a fragrant video essay for Wired, senior writer Emily Dreyfuss speaks with MIT professor Andreas Mershin. Mershin is the expert authority on artificial olfaction and is trying to develop an app that would create the ability for the phone to sniff out changes in a person’s health through baseline olfactive comparisons. While Mershin is making great strides in this particular area, he readily admits that a dog’s sense of smell still out-performs any amount of programming code at this time.
Dogs can smell explosives like landmines, and detect medical conditions including seizures, diabetes, and many forms of cancer — with up to 98% accuracy. Inventor Andreas Mershin wants to replicate that — and put a nose in every cell phone.